Marketing Lessons from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Marketing Lessons from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

The remake of the 1990s classic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has been the top grossing movie in the box office for the second week running. It’s surprised most of the experts by dethroning Marvel’s latest offering (Guardians of the Galaxy), and holding off the third installment of the star-studded Expendables franchise (not a huge feat, but still). Beyond all those accolades, as this article in Forbes explains, Paramount’s strategy for TMNT is a case study in targeted marketing. The film was a smash without needing to be omnipresent in the run-up to its debut; marketers of the film trusted the movie itself and didn’t drown the audience in marketing material.

 Paramount could have spent all of 2014 putting out trailers and other clips everywhere like the vast majority of distributors do. But with an August release, that would have over-saturated the market and after a while they’d only end up preaching to the converted while spoiling the best parts of the movie. Instead, they chose to release their first trailer alongside the spring’s biggest blockbuster, Captain America: Winter Soldier. In doing so they guaranteed that their first major marketing effort would be boosted by a movie with a massive opening weekend — Captain America grossed over 95 million dollars its opening weekend and, more importantly, was seen by plenty of moviegoers in the demographic Paramount was targeting for TMNT.

With that first trailer came some negative buzz, primarily on the internet. Paramount could have caved and moved their full-trailer release to coincide with the release of the first crop of summer movies but they knew that both positive and negative reviews meant that the press was talking about it. Their plan was to release their full-trailer alongside Transformers: Age of Extinction (the fourth movie in that franchise, and Paramount’s other big summer blockbuster) and they stuck to their guns. It proved to be the right call: TMNT was associated with a movie that ruled the box office, breaking the 100 million dollar mark its first weekend. And more importantly, the majority of people watching the full-trailer didn’t care about the negative online buzz — they were watching a preview for a movie starring Megan Fox (who had starred in previous Transformer movies) and it was an action-packed movie not unlike what they were getting ready to watch.

There are more details on Paramount’s marketing strategies that you can read about over at Forbes. But the lessons for a successful marketing campaign resonate with us. You’ll get further in promoting your product or service if you’re able to target your message to your audience. It starts with providing a quality product or service — something you really believe in. Tailor your marketing messages to your target audience, and deliver them in ways that will grab their attention. Then trust your product or service to speak for itself. This isn’t the end-all-be-all of marketing strategy, but it’s helpful to know (and remember) that you don’t have to be omnipresent to successfully promote yourself and your company.

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